Jan 12, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber (6) knocks the puck away from St. Louis Blues right wing Ryan Reaves (75) during the third period at the Scottrade Center. The Blues defeated the Sabres 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Sick Blues look to get well against Sabres


Who: St. Louis Blues vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: First Niagra Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

When: 6 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120

The Blues arrived in Buffalo, N.Y., a battered bunch Monday morning.

They landed in Empire State still absorbing the aftereffects of a rough 4-1 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals Sunday evening, only their third regulation loss of the season. To add insult to injury, a flu bug made several players its victim, including Chris Stewart, who sat out of Tuesday’s morning skate.

Unfortunately, the Blues busy November schedule doesn’t allow them a break to get healthy. Instead, they will have to get well on the ice when they face-off against the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night.

The Sabres have been left at the starting gates over a quarter of the way into the 2013-14 season. They are off to their worst start in franchise history and have a league-worst 11 points in 22 games. Their horrific start lead to the firing of Head Coach Ron Rolston and General Manager Darcy Regier on Wednesday. In their stead, Ted Nolan and Pat LaFontaine were hired as interim head coach and president of hockey operations, respectively.

Both have ties to the organization.

Nolan is in his second stint behind Buffalo’s bench. He coached the Sabres from 1995-97 and was given the Jack Adams Award for the 1996-97 season after guiding Buffalo to a first-place finish in the old Northeast Division.

LaFontaine, a St. Louis native, played parts of six seasons with Buffalo, scoring a career-high 148 points (53 G, 95 A) in 1992-93.

In two games under new management, the Sabres have shown signs of life. In Nolan’s home debut Friday, they won the opening leg of a home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs before falling short in a third period comeback effort in Toronto on Saturday. Additionally, the Sabres have won their last two at home.

With several Blues ill, and Buffalo rejuvenated with a fresh start, Tuesday’s contest may be closer than expected.

St. Louis will need a bounce back effort from Jaroslav Halak, who has hit a rough patch after a solid start to the season. He was pulled in the first period of Sunday’s matchup against the Capitals after allowing three goals on only six shots.

Interestingly enough, Halak’s counterpart on Tuesday night, Ryan Miller, was the subject of trade rumors involving the Blues over the summer. In fact, there was some discussion that Halak and Miller would both be the respective centerpieces in a deal between the two teams.

Miller has been one of the few bright spots for the Sabres this season, posting an impressive .919 save percentage. The East Lansing, Mich., native has accomplished this while facing the third most shots (568) in the league.

While the trade rumors never came to fruition, it will still be interesting to watch Halak and Miller do battle, especially with Halak’s recent struggles.

Additionally, the Blues will be without Patrik Berglund for a second straight game as he deals with an upper-body injury. Magnus Paajarvi will once again replace Berglund in the lineup.

Paajarvi will be playing in his second game since suffering an upper-body injury on Oct. 26th against the Nashville Predators. The Swedish winger has yet to register a point in five games played with the Blues.

Finally, while Stewart is expected to play through his illness, Adam Cracknell will be ready to step in as his replacement if need be.

TONIGHT’S PROJECTED LINEUPS:

BLUES:

Forwards

Alexander Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie

Brenden Morrow-Derek Roy-Chris Stewart

Jaden Schwartz-Vladimir Sobotka-Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi-Maxim Lapierre-Ryan Reaves

Defensemen

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole-Roman Polak

Goalie

Jaroslav Halak

SABRES:

Forwards

Matt Moulson-Cody Hodgson-Drew Stafford

Steve Ott-Ville Leino-Tyler Ennis

Marcus Foligno-Zemgus Girgensons-Brian Flynn

John Scott-Cody McCormick-Corey Tropp

Defensemen

Henrik Tallinder-Tyler Myers

Christian Ehrhoff-Mark Pysyk

Mike Weber-Jamie McBain

Goalie

Ryan Miller

 

 

 

Tags: Adam Cracknell Chris Stewart Featured Jaroslav Halak Magnus Paajarvi NHL Patrik Berglund Popular St. Louis Blues